You know those women who say they're only friends with men because females are catty, backstabbing bitches, whereas guys are straightforward, stalwart companions? Well Rihanna may be that type of girl, i.e., she only likes boys standing under her umbrella-ella-ella. The singer has reportedly said, "I have three girlfriends and about 20 guy friends. I love listening to guy talk because I learn a lot. Here's the key - you can't lower your standards for a guy because he won't respect you and he'll tell his friends. You always have to stick up for yourself and speak your mind." Yeah, that quote didn't entirely make sense, but I think the idea is that men are extremely loyal to each other (bros before hoes, yo) and Rihanna doesn't feel like she's learned much from women. But is male friendship really such a Utopian fantasy?
A story in the New York Times a few weeks ago reported that the pressure among men to be "one of the guys" can be overwhelming and create a conflict between being loyal and doing the right thing. (Take all those unreported sexual assaults in Iraq!) The paper quotes Jackson Katz, who writes on issues of masculinity: "[Katz] said before acting, men often weigh the risk of ostracism and loss of status. 'Guys make calculations all the time that it's not worth it,' he said. Men 'have this notion that you try to prove yourself as a man.'"
But what about female friendship? According to the Times of London, some female friendships are so close, they're basically sexless marriages. The singer Kate Nash has a best friend called Laura, and, Nash explains, "There's a part of us that just wants to hibernate together for ever". Adds Laura: "My boyfriend knows I have four types of love - for my family, my friends, him and Kate." Though these platonic friendships can end badly — one woman quoted in the Times of London says that her ex-best friend would "get jealous if I went for lunch with a friend and she couldn't come." — these women seemed blissed out on female affection. The paper also quotes famous BFFs and sometime-lovers Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West; of Woolf, Sackville-West wrote, "I do love her, but not b.s.ly [backstairsly, or homosexually]. One's love for Virginia is a very different thing: a mental thing; a spiritual thing, if you like, an intellectual thing."
Do you take Rihanna's tack by being mostly friends with men? Or do you find non-backstairs love with females? Or do you take people on a case-by-case basis and simply see what happens?